Biblical and Constitutional Politics
One Year of Productive Leadership
(What the Mainstream Media is Not Telling You)
By Gary F. Zeolla
President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. After his first 100 days in office, I posted the article 100 Days of Productive Leadership (Never Mind What the Mainstream Media Tells You). As I write this article, it is January 20, 2018, so it has now been a full year since President Trump was inaugurated, and the productive leadership continues.
You wouldn’t know that from the mainstream media’s coverage of his presidency, as 90% of the its coverage has been negative (PoliZette). Rather than reporting on his many successes and the fact that he is well on his way of fulfilling his promise to Make America Great Again, the media has been focused on fake news stories, like Trump’s supposed unfitness for office, his imaginary racism, the hoax of Russian collusion, and fabricated claims of sexism and sexual assault by Trump.
I address the first of these fake new stories in my newly posted article on President Trump’s First Annual Physical. I address his supposed racism in the article Alt-Right vs. Alt-Left in Charlottesville, VA. I discuss the hoax of Russian collusion in the articles Warning! Coup in Process, Scrap of Evidence Causes Media Frenzy, and Eventful Three Weeks in Politics. I address the fabricated claims of sexism and sexual assault in my two volume set God’s Sex Plan, which among many other issues, looks at the subjects of sexual harassment and assault in depth and what the Bible as to say about them.
I might need to revisit the claims of racism and Russian collusion, as they are still ongoing (see “*Expletive* Countries” and Government Shutdowns). However, the issue of Trump’s fitness for office should be put to rest, as I detail in the “Physical” article, and the issue of sexual assault will be addressed thoroughly in my two-volume set, as will many other issues related to human sexuality and the Bible’s teachings thereupon.
As such, here, I am going to bypass all of this nonsense and focus on the many accomplishments that have occurred during Trump’s first year in office that deserve much more attention than they have been getting in the mainstream media and even on conservative talk radio.
Appointment of Conservative Judges
I discuss the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in the above “100 Days” article and in the article Gorsuch and Syria. And his appointment is monumental, as it maintained the slim 5-4 conservative majority in the Supreme Court. But Neil’s appointment has not been the only judgeship appointment Trump has made.
As of Thursday, Trump set a record for the most ever federal appeals judges confirmed during the first year of a presidency, Axios reports. Trump has successfully appointed 12 so far; President Barack Obama confirmed just three in his first year, and President George W. Bush confirmed six. He beat out presidents Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, who each confirmed 11 (Time; President).
Why this matters: The federal courts affect almost every area of policy: gun rights, presidential executive orders like Trump’s travel ban, social policy issues like abortion and freedom of religion, and tensions between regulation, litigation and private enterprise (Axios; Judicial).
All the federal judges that Trump has appointed have been conservative judges in the mold of Justice Gorsuch. Since all of these appointments are for life, these dozen judges will be influencing the USA for decades to come.
And it must be noted that the vast majority of cases are decided at the federal court level, while very few cases make it to the Supreme Court, so these federal judges will be having the final say on what is constitutional or not on the vast majority of controversial issues taken to court. That is why liberal Democrats like Dianne Feinstein are disturbed about these appointments, but conservatives should be rejoicing:
“The Supreme Court hears between 100 and 150 cases each year out of the more than 7,000 it’s asked to review,” she said. “But in 2015 alone, more than 55,000 cases were filed in federal appeals courts. … In a way, circuit courts serve as the de facto Supreme Court to the vast majority of individuals who bring cases. They are the last word” (Time; President).
Keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Check
The aforementioned article on Gorsuch and Syria also discussed President Trump ordering of the bombing of the airfield from which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched planes that dropped chemical weapons on his own people. In that article, I express some reservations about the bombing. But now, over nine months later, it is obvious that Trump’s response worked, as al-Assad has not used chemical weapons again.
Therefore, I will have to admit that Trump was right, and I was wrong to have doubted his actions. But you will not hear such an admission from all of the other naysayers out there who did much more than doubt Trump’s actions but called them irresponsible, or worse. But the fact is, Trump’s tactic worked.
North and South Korea Talking Again
Another area of foreign policy in which President Trump’s tactics have worked is in regard to North Korea (NoKo). I discuss the seriousness of this issue in my article DACA, North Korea, and Hurricanes. Here I will update that article and say that unlike his predecessors, Trump has not followed a policy of appeasement but one of showing strength towards NoKo and its leader, Kim Jong-un.
Trump’s threats against the NoKo leader have been met with derision from the mainstream media and Democrats. They most especially went nuts over Trump’s “My button is bigger than your button” tweet in regard to the nuclear capabilities of NoKo versus the United States. But once again, Trump’s tactics have worked, whereas those of Obama did not.
During Obama’s eight years in office, there were no negotiations between North and South Korea. They simply did not talk to each other at all. But after Trump’s “button” tweet, the two Koreas held their first meeting in eight years, agreeing to enter a joint team into the Winter Olympics being held in South Korea.
The rival Koreas agreed Wednesday to form their first unified Olympic team and have their athletes parade together for the first time in 11 years during the opening ceremony of next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, officials said (NBC News. North).
This is a bigger deal than the media is making it out to be. It is not just “symbolic” as the preceding article on NBC News’s website calls it. It is an icebreaker, and a way for the two countries to put aside their differences and do something together. And that could easily lead to further successful negotiations. But none of that would have happened without Trump’s tough talk.
Obeying Congressional Laws and the Constitution
The aforementioned article DACA, North Korea, and Hurricanes also discussed that Trump was following the law and the Constitution when he rescinded Obama’s unconstitutional DACA legislation. It was unconstitutional, as only Congress can draft legislation. It is now in rightly Congress’ hands to pass a law to deal with the so-called Dreamers. Such is not and never was under the President’s authority.
President Trump was also following the law and the Constitution when he announced the temporary immigration status of 180,000 El El Salvador immigrates would end in 18 months. The reason for this is the law originally drafted by Congress specifically stated that it was temporary and that it would end when the conditions in El Salvador had changed. They have, so it is time for the law to expire:
Today, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced her determination that termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador was required pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. To allow for an orderly transition, she has determined to delay the termination for 18 months. The designation will terminate on Sept. 9, 2019.
The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated (Homeland Security).
President Trump was also following the Constitution when he took the USA out of the Paris Climate Accord. That agreement was not an “accord” but a treaty, and all treaties must be approved by Congress, while the Accord was not. I address this point in the article Pittsburgh, not Paris.
Another unconstitutional treaty President Trump promised to withdraw the USA from but has not yet done so is the horrid Iranian Deal. That again was called a “deal” by Obama to avoid needing Congressional approval. Such word games should have been challenged in court, but the spineless Congress never did so when Obama orchestrated that deal, but hopefully, Trump will soon take the Constitutionally correct step of rescinding that deal.
I know President Trump has received heat for each of these steps, but each are Constitutionally correct. And following the Constitution is far more important than any one policy issue. If we cease to follow the Constitution, then any hope of making American great again is lost.
ISIS on the Run
ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. When President Trump took office, ISIS was in control of much of Iraq and Syria. That was due to the gutless leadership of Barack Obama, who pulled US troops out of Iraq before Iraq was prepared to defend itself, and that left a power vacuum ISIS filled. In fact, ISIS grew to be a threat under Obama. But now, under President Trump’s leadership, ISIS has lost 98% of its territory in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory it once held -- with half of that terror group’s so-called “caliphate” having been recaptured since President Trump took office less than a year ago, U.S. military officials said Tuesday [12/26/17] ….
The latest American intelligence assessment says fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters now remain in Iraq and Syria, down from a peak of nearly 45,000 just two years ago. U.S. officials credit nearly 30,000 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and regional partners on the ground for killing more than 70,000 jihadists. Meanwhile, only a few thousand have returned home (Fox News; ISIS).
This is not so say the war against ISIS is over. Many ISIS fighters have fled to Africa, and ISIS is still recruiting new fighters via the Internet that could execute terroristic attacks in the USA and Europe. But we are in a far better state to prevent and deal with such attacks than we ever were under Obama. That is because of the next point.
Illegal Immigration Down
Illegal immigration is way down under President Trump.
Illegal border crossing tumbled to a 45-year low and interior arrests of illegal immigrants soared in 2017, according to data released Tuesday that showed President Trump’s enforcement crackdown netted tangible results during his first year on the job. The numbers, released by the Department of Homeland Security, reflected a stunning turnaround from the nearly nonexistent interior enforcement of immigration laws under President Obama.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 310,531 apprehensions nationwide in fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30, a decline of 25 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level since 1971. Nearly all of the Border Patrol arrests — 303,916 — were along the southwestern border, which the agency said underscored the need for a security wall that Mr. Trump wants to build (Washington Times. How).
This drop in illegal immigration is great for the USA, for its security and its economy. But illegal immigration is still a concern. That is why the border wall is still needed:
Homan and Ronald Vitiello, acting chief of the Border Patrol, said that the sharp drop in illegal border crossings is no reason to pull back on Trump’s promise to build a wall across hundreds of miles of the southwest border. “We’re still arresting nearly 1,000 people a day on the border, mostly the southwest border,” Vitiello said (Los Angeles Times. Immigration).
We would be even safer if Trump’s travel ban was allowed to remain in effect. But that is another area where having more conservative judges will have a beneficial effect in that the courts will once again follow congressionally passed laws and the Constitution. See my article Eventful Three Weeks in Politics - Part One for more in this regard.
The Economy Is Heating Up
The economy under Barrack Obama was lackluster at best. But under President Trump it has heated up, and it shows no signs of slowing down. As a result of this growing economy, millions of Americans are better off today than they were a year ago. Consider the following:
America is up to its eyeballs in good economic news. The Dow broke 26,000 Tuesday [1/16/18]. Unemployment is down and black unemployment, at 6.8 percent according to the latest figures, is the lowest its been since the Bureau of Labor Statics started breaking out the number in 1972. Under Barack Obama it got as high as 16.5 percent.
Layoffs are down, as few now as they were in December 1990. Spending on capital goods is way up. Growth in the GDP is likely to top 3 percent, making it the first time since 2005 the economy has grown at that rate over three consecutive quarters. Businesses are raising wages, paying bonuses and announcing expansion plans (US News. Good).
The number of people enrolled in food stamps dropped by two million since President Trump took office, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Breitbart).
The U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, notching its quickest pace in three years, buoyed by robust business spending on equipment and an accumulation of inventories….
Fed Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers on Wednesday “the economic expansion is increasingly broad based across sectors,” and that she expected that “the economy will continue to expand” (Reuters. U.S.).
The Tax Law Is Having the Desired Effects
Most of the above improvements in the economy occurred before the Republican Tax Law was passed. I explain the details of the law and its many potential and realized beneficial effects in the article Democrat and Media Lies About the Republican Tax Plan. But here, I will mention just one more benefit that just recently occurred:
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, said Wednesday [1/17/18] that it will spend $350 billion on development and create 20,000 jobs in the United States in the next five years, outlining for the first time how it will invest in the U.S. economy following the new tax law passed late last year (Washington Post. Apple).
This move my Apple is huge and will have far-reaching benefits for the USA. It is the largest such move, but it is by no means the only one.
The White House applauded Apple’s announcement. “Just as the president promised, making our businesses more competitive internationally is translating directly into benefits for the American worker, through increased wages, better benefits, and new jobs,” Lindsay Walters, a deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement. Other companies, including AT&T, American Airlines and Walmart, have also linked employee bonuses to the new law (Washington Post. Apple).
“But the economy was already growing before the tax law was passed,” the detractors will say. That is true, but it was the promise of tax cuts that led to consumer and corporate confidence, and that confidence enabled business to begin to expand and consumers to spend. It is those expenditures that have led to the economic boom.
Responses to Natural Disasters and Tragedies
President Trump and his administration have responded very well to the numerous natural disasters and tragic events that have occurred in the past year. I detail these responses in my articles DACA, North Korea, and Hurricanes and America Has Been Through a Lot—And It’s All Trump’s Fault.
The title of the latter is sarcastic, as it has been the swift and effective response of the Trump administration to each of these event that have mitigated their detrimental effects. It should also be noted, that without these disasters, the economy would probably be doing even better. But due to the good economy, recovery from them will be quicker than they would have been under the lackluster Obama economy.
Repealing the Worst of Obamacare
Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, and he had pen in hand, ready to do so, as soon as Congress put a repeal and replace bill on his desk. But the Republican-controlled Congress was not able to get its act together and pass a repeal and replace bill. I detail the reasons for this failure in my two-part article Health Care Fiasco: The Role of Politicians and Non-Politicians in this Debacle.
Here, I will say, that despite the inaction of the do-nothing Congress, Trump has done what he can to lessen the deleterious effects of the ill-named Affordable Care Act (ACA) by rescinding the corporate and personal mandates. The former is one reason for the aforementioned economic growth, as it has allowed small businesses to grow beyond the 25 employee ceiling that would have forced them to provide health care for all of their employees. The latter is allowing individuals to make their own health care choices based on what they think is best for them rather than the government mandating what is best.
Yes, a full repeal and replace is needed. But that ball is now in Congress’ court, and there is not much more Trump can do about it until Congress gets its act together and puts a bill on his desk.
Deregulation Promise More Than Fulfilled
Trump made a campaign promise to repeal two regulations for every new one passed. Not only has he kept that promise as he has kept many of his other campaign promises, but he has surpassed it.
President Trump promised a massive rollback of federal regulations on small businesses Monday, signing an executive action that he said would “knock out two regulations for every new regulation” adopted by federal agencies (USA Today. Trump, 1/20/17).
The administration withdrew or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions in 2017, according to the semi-annual Unified Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda published by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Thursday afternoon [12/14/17]. The regulatory agenda acts as a policy blueprint of sorts for federal agencies. Trump said his administration has eliminated 22 regulations for every one that has been added….
The 22 for 1 count represents 67 deregulatory actions and three regulatory actions agencies made through September, according to Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA)….
Getting rid of 67 rules may not sound like a lot to some, but Rao called it impressive. She reminded reporters that regulators still have to go through the rulemaking process to get rid of a rule, which takes time (Hill, The. Trump).
Consumer and Corporate Confidence
Should President Trump be given credit for the burgeoning economy? First, you can be sure if the economy was tanking, the left would be blaming Trump for it. Second, the combination of the Tax bill, the repealing of the mandates of the ACA, and deregulation are three factors responsible for the growing economy, as these steps have led to improved consumer and business confidence.
US consumers haven’t been this optimistic about the economy since the start of 2004, according to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan. The consumer-sentiment index registered a preliminary October reading of 101.1, a monthly report showed Friday.
The data suggest that consumer spending will likely continue to support the economy through at least mid-2018, at which time this economic expansion would become the second-longest since the 19th century. US economic growth in the second quarter rose to a two-year high on stronger consumer and business spending, a late-September report showed (Business Insider).
Religious Freedom Alive and Well Again
“Merry Christmas.” I know Christmas was a month ago, but wasn’t it nice that people were saying “Merry Christmas” again? And it wasn’t just at the White House. Many businesses had their employees saying, “Merry Christmas” to customers once again.
One a more serious note, the appointments of Neil Gorsuch and the dozen federal judges will have far-reaching ramifications for the many religious freedom cases that are currently working their way through the courts. If Hillary had been elected, she would have appointed all liberal judges, and all those judges would have ignored the Constitution and its guarantee of religious freedom. But with conservative judges now in place, there is every reason to believe the Constitution will now be obeyed and religious freedom will be upheld.
The Pro-Life Movement on an Upswing
President Trump become the first President to speak live at the March for Life on January 19, 2018.
President Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to directly address the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington. He spoke live via satellite from the White House Rose Garden. Previous presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush addressed the march via phone call or recorded message. Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the massive crowd of protesters last year (USA Today. Live).
Below is an excerpt from Trump’s speech, in which he touts measures he has already taken to protect life and religious freedom.
And during my first week in office, I reinstated a policy first put in place by President Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City policy. (Applause.)
I strongly supported the House of Representative’s Pain-Capable bill, which would end painful, late-term abortions nationwide. And I call upon the Senate to pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing. (Applause.)
On the National Day of Prayer, I signed an executive order to protect religious liberty. (Applause.) Very proud of that.
Today, I’m announcing that we have just issued a new proposal to protect conscience rights and religious freedoms of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. So important. (Applause.)
I have also just reversed the previous administration’s policy that restricted states’ efforts to direct Medicaid funding away from abortion facilities that violate the law. (Applause.) (Hill, The. Full).
The “Pain-capable bill” refers to making abortion illegal from the time a preborn baby feels pain. I address this issue in my God’s Sex Plan set.
Patriotism has seen a revival under President Trump, with people once again being proud to be Americans. This is seen in the negative reaction that has occurred to the millionaire ballplayers in the NFL taking a knee during the National Anthem. As a result, attendance and ratings for NFL games have plummeted. Americans will no longer stand for players not standing for the National Anthem.
The National Football League’s television ratings were down this season, leading some to question whether anthem protests had turned some fans off. According to USA Today, the average audience across the four broadcasters of NFL games fell 10 percent in the 2017 regular season. This follows an 8 percent drop across CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN last season, when former quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players began kneeling for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games (Fox News Insider. Report).
I address this controversy in my article Lifelong Steelers Fan, But Will I Keep Watching?
Rightly Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel
In 1995, Congress passed a law that required the President to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. But in the over two decades since then, President after President has issues waivers to delay the implementation of this law. Trump insisted one such waiver in June. But six months later, he let that waiver expire and declared that Jerusalem was in fact the capital of Israel and ordered that preparations be made to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Allowing the waiver to expire would represent a sharp break from past Democratic and Republican administrations, which--despite their own campaign promises and pressure from Congress--have resisted moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem for fear doing so could alienate Arab allies, trigger protests in the Middle East, and damage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, among other outcomes. Critics of this longstanding position, however, contend that these policy concerns are at best exaggerated and only serve to deprive Israel of the right to choose its own capital. Trump favored the latter view during his presidential campaign, repeatedly promising to relocate the embassy and appointing an advocate for such a move as U.S ambassador to Israel…
The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is the most forceful expression of Congress’s desire that the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem. The act declares that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel” and that “the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999 (Lawfare).
Every six months for more than two decades, U.S. presidents have had to decide all over again whether to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since the Clinton administration, they decided each time to keep the embassy where it is, seeking not to throw a wrench into delicate Middle East peace talks. On Tuesday [12/5/17], however, after signing a waiver putting off the move in June, President Donald Trump informed the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas that he’s going to recognize the contested holy city as Israel’s capital and begin the process of moving the embassy there (Time. The 1995 Law).
Thus, by this action, President Trump once again is showing his respect for the Constitution and its mandate that the Executive Branch enforce laws passed by Congress, the Legislative Branch.
Moreover, allowing Israel to determine its own capital is the right thing to do. The USA would not appreciate it if say Russia refused to recognize Washington DC as the capital of the United States, instead declaring Baltimore to be our capital. That would be an affront to our sovereignty, and it is an affront to the sovereignty of Israel for other countries to say Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel, not Jerusalem.
But the fact is, Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel ever since Israel regain control of Jerusalem in 1967. And it had been Israel's historic capital ever since King David captured it way back in 1,000 BC. Meanwhile, so-called Palestine has no legitimate claim to Jerusalem, and it has never been the capital of Palestine, for the simple reason that there never has been a legitimate Palestinian state. See my article Tiny Israel: Amidst a Massive Sea of Muslim Lands for details in these regards.
Just the Highlights
The preceding 16 items are just the highlights of all President Trump has accomplished in his first year in office. The following webpages provide more complete lists of his accomplishments:
Fox News. Trump ends 2017 with big wins on economy, taxes, ISIS and more
MegaPill. President Donald Trump's Accomplishment List
National Review. This Thanksgiving, Thank Donald J. Trump
Stone Cold Truth. President Trump’s Accomplishments So Far.
Washington Examiner. Year One List: 81 major Trump achievements, 11 Obama legacy items repealed.
WhiteHouse.gov. President Donald J. Trump: Year One of Making America Great Again
President Trump is well on his way to fulfilling his promise to Make American Great Again. There have been stumbles along the way, but overall, his first year in office has been a great success, and all Americans are benefiting as a result. The mainstream media can to try to ignore all of these accomplishments, but they in fact the truths of President Trump’s first year in office.
Axios. Judicial appointments are the sleeper story that matters.
Breitbart. Food stamp enrollment drops by 2 million under Trump.
Business Insider. Consumer confidence explodes to a 13-year high.
Fox News Insider. Report: NFL's TV Ratings Dropped 10 Percent This Season Amid Lower Attendance.
Fox News. ISIS has lost 98 percent of its territory -- mostly since Trump took office, officials say.
Hill, The. FULL SPEECH: Addressing March for Life, Trump touts gains in anti-abortion policy.
Hill, The. Trump touts deregulation by his administration.
Lawfare. On Waiving the Jerusalem Embassy Act (or Not).
Homeland Security. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen Announcement on Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador.
Los Angeles Times. Immigration enforcement under Trump: Fewer people caught at border, more arrested in U.S. interior.
NBC News. North and South Korea will form joint team for Winter Olympics.
Time. President Trump Appointed Four Times as Many Federal Appeals Judges as Obama in His First Year.
Time. The 1995 Law Behind President Trump's Plan to Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Reuters. U.S. third-quarter economic growth fastest in three years.
PoliZette. Study Finds 90 Percent of ABC, CBS, NBC Trump Coverage Is Negative.
PoliZette. Study: Networks Spent 91 Percent of Summer Airtime Bashing Trump.
USA Today. Live stream: Trump makes historic speech at March for Life 2018.
USA Today. Trump orders two-for-one repeal for all new regulations.
US News. Good News Doesn't Always Travel Fast.
Washington Post. Apple pledges to spend $350 billion and bring 20,000 jobs to the U.S. within next five years.
Washington Times. How Trump turned tide of illegal immigration in first year: Border crossing hits 45-year low.
One Year of Productive Leadership (What the Mainstream Media is Not Telling You). Copyright © 2018 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this website January 20, 2018.
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